Family law: Understanding the different types of child custody

There is no telling how many Louisiana marriages will end in divorce this year. Those who are parents may encounter family law issues that challenge their ability to leave the past behind and move on in life, especially if there is contention between co-parents. Understanding the different types of child custody ahead of time can help avoid legal complications regarding such matters.

One of the highest priorities in divorce proceedings involving children is deciding who will have custody. Custody, however, is not an isolated term; it refers to several types of child-related issues. For instance, regarding legal custody issues, the court will determine whether one parent or both will have decision-making authority regarding important issues that concern the children.

Just because children live with a particular parent does not mean the other parent does not have to be consulted when important decisions are made on behalf of the kids. Physical custody, on the other hand, has to do with where the children live. Sometimes the court grants physical custody to both parents. Other times, the court grants primary physical custody to one parent, with the other parent entitled to specified parenting time. One still other occasions, such as if one parent has been ruled unfit, sole physical custody may be granted to the other parent.

Most Louisiana family law judges find it preferable for divorcing parents to share physical and legal custody of their children. Once a ruling is handed down, both parents must fully adhere to its terms. If a parent believes his or her rights were violated or that a particular ruling is unfair, an appeal may be appropriate. Such situations can be complicated, which is why most parents hire experienced child custody attorneys to provide guidance and support.

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